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Engaging Younger Professionals

Engage emerging leaders

Explore the Toolkit

  1. Introduction

  2. Audience

  3. Culture

  4. Connections

  5. Engagement

  6. Value

You’ve done your research. You've found emerging leaders in your community, set the narrative, and gotten their attention.

Now you have to keep it.

Make sure Rotary stays interesting to them — through what you say but, more important, through what you do in your Rotary club.

How to engage prospective members

See how the San Francisco Evening Rotary Club shows prospective members what being a Rotarian entails. Download their Membership Passport Program.

  • Ask potential members about their ideas, passions, and ideal service projects. Don’t just tell them about yours. See how their interests and strengths can benefit your club. 
  • Connect on a personal level. Instead of saying, “You need to join,” try, “Rotary is amazing, and I think you might like it because ...”
  • When potential members express an interest in Rotary, help them find the right fit. Discuss what they want to accomplish, then reinforce how Rotary can help them achieve it. Don’t push them to join your club; maybe a different club is the right fit for them. Download Creating a Positive Experience for Prospective Members for ideas on how to attract the members your club wants and needs.

Be ready to talk about Rotary

Any person your club members talk to — a friend, a family member, a coworker — could be a future Rotarian. But we ask them to become members right away — and that is way too soon. Make sure everyone in your club can talk about Rotary effectively. How? Start your next club meeting by asking a few members to act out a prospective member pitch. Work together to refine delivery and highlight strategies that empower everyone to talk about Rotary and your club. 

How to engage new members

We learn from everyone whose guidance, wisdom, and encouragement have helped us move forward. That’s the opportunity mentoring gives us — and why it’s so important.

See how the Rotary Club of Columbus, Georgia, USA, implemented a mentorship program. Download their Leadership Development Program Guide.

  • Invite new members to participate in meetings, service projects, and other events, and see what interests them. Because mentorship is important to younger professionals, identify established members who would be great connections and make introductions. 
  • When new members join your club, connect with them and find out what inspires them. Create a new member orientation strategy to keep them active and engaged. Engagement leads to retention. Download Introducing New Members to Rotary: An Orientation Guide
  • Ask your members to share their ideas. Show them respect, encourage them to make suggestions, and encourage others to take them seriously.

As new members take on leadership roles and start projects, it’s OK to ask if they need help.  Check in regularly to make sure they’re finding their place in your club.

 How to engage current members and club leadership

  • Assess and evaluate the health of your club and its membership by using our Rotary Club Health Check (PDF). Create awareness around the challenges your club faces. 
  • Ask yourself, “Does my club need to evolve?” If it does, download our Membership Assessment Tools for step-by-step guidance. 
  • Ask your fellow members what they want. Build trust and respect with them — former members, longstanding members, and current members. They hold the keys to your club’s traditions and to its future. Our Member Satisfaction Survey (PDF) can help.
  • Coordinate events, speakers, and service projects that are challenging, exciting, and relevant to your club. Visit Develop Projects
  • Find ideas for activities that reflect your members’ diversity and personalities in Be A Vibrant Club.  

Get a quick read on morale

Do a “Stop, Start, Continue” exercise. Get three small boxes. On one, write “Stop.” On the second, write “Start,” and on the third, “Continue.” Pass out blank slips of paper, and ask members to write down suggestions of policies, projects, and other initiatives that they’d like to see your club stop, start, and continue. Ask them to put their suggestions in the appropriate box. It’s a great way to get a feel for what everyone’s thinking — both the positive and the negative.

Rotarians in clubs that have a strategic plan report higher satisfaction and engagements. They are also more likely to intend to stay members. Download Rotary’s Strategic Planning Guide and Strengthening Your Membership: Creating Your Membership Plan